After much consternation around new, lighted crosswalks in Montauk, the Hamptons Police Department has agreed to install tastefully dressed traffic control officers in place of the blinking pedestrian signals.
Clad in pleasing new uniforms, each officer will carry a dim and demurely designed hand lamp to alert pedestrians when it’s safe to cross the street. The measure, which began this week, is temporary.
Dubbed “light sensitivity officers,” these specially trained police will be allocated from various sectors around the Hamptons—leaving those areas without on-duty patrol officers—have been ordered to “quietly notify people with a shake of their lamp, being sure not to contribute to evening light pollution or offend the sensibilities of pedestrians.”
Light sensitivity officers are already installed at key crosswalks around the hamlet’s business district, and will remain on duty in rotating shifts until Hamptons Municipal Board officials can agree on a new solution and put it into action. “We want to ensure that everyone is happy,” Hamptons Police Department spokesman Larry Hirsch explained this week. “In order to get our officers back on their regular patrol routes, we need to devise a system that will protect pedestrians and drivers, and not offend the sensibilities of our citizens.”
Unfortunately, Hirsch said, the local criminal element is already well aware of the fact that certain parts of town are no longer being policed. “These people are taking advantage of a difficult situation and crime is on the rise,” he explained. “But we have to make these tough decisions in order to protect the citizenry from visually upsetting situations. Allowing looting and other thefts to increase is certainly not what we want, but we had to balance the import of one versus the other,” Hirsch continued, adding, “Let’s face it, a few stolen cars and break-ins are a small price to pay for an attractive town.”